GLENARDEN, Md. - Officials from Prince George’s County said they are continuing to investigate and identify more people who may have been victimized by a school volunteer accused of recording video of children performing sex acts.
In addition, school officials said they will investigate internally whether policies and programs were implemented properly that could have prevented these crimes. They will also continue to cooperate with police in the ongoing investigation.
Deonte Carraway, 22, is facing felony charges that include child pornography and sexual abuse of a minor. Police said additional charges are likely.
Carraway was a school volunteer at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School in Glenarden. He was also the director of the Glenarden Voice of Youth Choir.
On Wednesday, Prince George’s County Interim Police Chief Hank Stawinski said there is a total of 11 victims that have been identified so far. Seven of those victims were directly abused by Carraway. He said 18 children and more than two dozen families have been interviewed.
According to police, detectives discovered Carraway had about 40 videos of the victims and the crimes took place at the elementary school during the school day on school grounds as well as at the Glenarden Municipal Center, Theresa Banks Memorial Aquatic Center and in private homes.
"As soon was the allegations were confirmed and the arrest was made, we immediately took steps to assist the students and families," said Prince George's County Public Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell. "First, there was a meeting with parents at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School and we have provided counseling and psychological support for students and families upon request."
“This is a painful situation for the county to think a person that we entrusted would deliver everlasting harm to our young people, our babies,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker. “It breaks our hearts in Prince George’s County.”
“I want to express my very deep and profound disappointment at the crimes that occurred at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School,” said Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks. “I have said it before and I will continue to say it until I am blue in the face that we have a very sacred obligation to the children in this community to protect them, educate them, to do everything we can to make sure they have lives that are productive. And these kids in this case did not receive that protection.”
On Wednesday, Judge Sylvania Woods principal Michelle Williams was placed on administrative leave by the school system. Vice principal Donna Smith has taken over as the acting principal.
“We removed the principal out of an abundance of caution,” said Maxwell.
When we asked how Carraway spent so much time with the children alone, Maxwell said, "I can't answer that question right now. That is part of the investigation. He was for a period of time a dedicated aide assigned to work with children. That was his role in the school system."
On Wednesday, one of Carraway’s alleged victims filed a lawsuit against the Prince George’s County Board of Education, the school’s principal and Carraway. The lawsuit alleges that the principal took no action despite knowing that there were concerns being raised by parents and teachers about Carraway.
The elementary school will hold a meeting for parents on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to outline additional measures to address the safety and security of the students. The school system has also established a parent and student safety hotline at 301-618-8342 to report any suspicious or questionable behavior.
Possible victims can also contact police at 301-772-4930 or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.